Historic Ordsall Hall, re-opened in May 2011 after a £6.5million facelift, is to close to the public on Fridays in a cost saving measure. The Grade 1 listed Tudor hall will now only be open from Monday to Thursday, and for three hours on Sunday, which campaigners say will have an adverse affect on the local community.
"The Hall is open to the community free of charge, and has had over 30,000 visitors in the past year. Nearly 25% of these visitors come from the most socially and economically deprived areas of the country many of whom have no other access to culture and heritage" they stated in a press release issued yesterday.
"The Hall also provides primary school children with the unique opportunity to 'travel back in time' to meet and learn about the Tudors" the release added "This is a unique opportunity for children to be inspired by learning out of the classroom and this service is fully booked all year round. Salford Council cuts would see this service cut by 20%."
The management and running of Ordsall Hall was taken over recently by the `arms length' Salford Community Leisure (SCL), which itself has faced a £1.3million cut in its grant from Salford Council last year, with a further £400,000 cut next year.
Campaigners against the partial closure of Ordsall Hall say the move is an effort to save £25,000… "This will maintain the valuable service Ordsall Hall currently offers to the community and local schools."
While SCL is looking to save £25,000, the Salford Star can reveal that two Executive Directors of the company saw their income packages rise by over £18,000 during the last financial year. Total pay and pensions contributions for the two SCL Executive Directors jumped from £144,778 in 2011, to £162,986 in 2012.
Meanwhile SCL staff were subject to voluntary redundancies, early retirement and reduction of hours. Indeed, at the Annual General Meeting of SCL in September 2012, it was reported that Ordsall Hall now has more volunteers than paid employees.
At that meeting, Chief Executive, Steve Hassall, revealed that "there were requests for Friday weddings, which seem to be more popular now, and SCL are considering closing the hall to the public on a Friday".
From this, it looks like Ordsall Hall will be closed to the public and school children so that private weddings can go ahead. Campaigners argue that the closure breaks promises given to the Heritage Lottery as part of a grant worth £4.1million…
"We need Salford Council to fulfil the commitment they made to fund Ordsall Hall and keep it open to the public" the campaign statement adds "This commitment was made to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Ordsall Hall's redevelopment. Salford Council intends to renege on this promise. We now need them to release just a fraction of what they originally promised; £25,000. This will maintain the valuable service Ordsall Hall currently offers to the community and local schools…We are campaigning the Council to ask them to fulfil their commitment."
A Support Ordsall Hall Facebook group has been set up - search Support Ordsall Hall
And a petition has also been set up which campaigners are urging the public to sign – click here
Anyone interested in joining the campaign can email firstname.lastname@example.org
See also Salford Star article on Ordsall Hall's £6.5million facelift from May 2011 – click here